What We Learn As Athletes

It never ceases to confound me when I hear from time to time from non-athletes, “so what’s the point.”  Or, ” as a college we are not in the business of training professional athletes.” I usually grit my teeth and remind them all, as an undergraduate institution no one on the day they get their diploma will be qualified to do brain surgery, run a multi-billion dollar company, argue in front of the Supreme Court, or totally design a new giant skyscraper.

Kristen Taylor breaks into the open last fall

What happens in those 4 years is to build a foundation, that can be used to garner and harness all their education to accomplish many things. They will be citizens who shape their environment, politically and physically. Athletics is part of that education and ( I know I will irritate my faculty friends with the next statement), may be equally as important as that course in Modern British Fiction. It’s the exposure to challenges and learning how to meet it, that will shape our young student athletes.

Sam DiMaio powers past a defender

More often than not there will be frustrations and disappointments and great triumphs as well. I am reminded of a prayer I once read:

I  Asked For—–

I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong

I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve

I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brain to work

I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome

I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help

I asked for favors and God gave me oppotunites

I received nothing I wanted

I received everything I needed!

All my prayers have been answered

On January 22 our team returned to the campus. The 2018 season has begun with strength and conditioning drills, soon to morph into spring practice. The new class has been signed with Mary Gould, Alix Talkow, Molly Mc Andrew, Maddie Mayuga, and  Holly Abbot. They will begin their four year adventure in August. (We expect perhaps one more signing this spring).  These new students will have the additional challenge of adjusting to new teammates, and the next step up in skill and speed.

Anna Steps looks for help

Even before the first weight is lifted, Theresa Delahanty and Rachel Bird attended the US Naval Academy leadership course ( See the picture at the head of the article with soccer player Joe DeStefano and Deputy Director of Athletics Katy McKittrick and now senior student mentor Ellen Colbourne) . Hopefully, they will bring new leadership skills to inspire the Field Hockey Leopards to success this fall. As I said in previous posts, I have seen the schedule and there is not one team, that is beyond our reach next season. For the seniors, it all comes together, for the juniors they become an important part in the growth of the team, the sophomores, now have been around for a year and have played teams at the highest level, and the freshmen will learn to be integrated into a winning culture.

Hopefully, all our prayers will be answered


Hope And Expectations For The New Year

The page has turned onto a new year and for Lafayette Field Hockey, it’s 2018 that every player and recruit is now focused on. Improvement does not come with just hope, but with work that begins today…. or began yesterday. Our first year players now have one year under their belt, and the second and third year players have honed skills that need to be integrated into a new team construct. Two thousand seventeen is over, and there must be lessons learned and absorbed to apply to the coming season.


There should not be an obsession with lost games, but there should be reflection on what could have been done to change the outcome. There was progress made. There were more shots taken, more goals scored,  and more corners earned last year. In the end, Field Hockey is a chaotic game but winning teams are able to rationalize the chaos through skill development, fitness, and mental preparation. In some cases we rose to the occasion, the Bucknell game comes to mind, and in fairness. there were several games we did not play our best.

Cameron Costello drives past a defender

I have seen our schedule for next year. There is not a team on that schedule we cannot beat. Yes, the chances of going undefeated are slim, but we should arrive on the field with the mental and physical preparation that will propel us to the playoffs. Every practice, conditioning session, and game review should have an expectation that Lafayette can prevail. Spring is a great time to experiment and prepare, the fall is the time to execute. (Spoiler alert….There will also be a chance to test our skills in late spring and early Summer against foreign competition!!!)

Hope….in a new era and with new leadership in our athletic department, there should be a feeling of optimistic expectations.  The Leopards must arrive on the turf with confidence. Practice with every minute assuming it is as precious, as it is important. Practice should be like a mini-game….. win in practice, and win when in counts. In my conversations with the new AD I have stated that this team, of all the 23 teams at Lafayette, this team is the closest to winning a conference title.

I have hope, with an optimistic state of mind!! I hope we will make the extra pass, the follow up shots, and scrape the turf to make that tackle. I hope I will be able to say that our bench was engaged, standing on the sidelines ready to enter the game if needed. I want to beat Lehigh on our own turf. Three years of losing to Holy Cross must end!! It would be sweet to be on the winning side against American and Boston. Colgate was too close last year. While watching the National Football Championships last night, I wondered if freshmen Tua Tagovailoa knew he would be playing that second half in place of Jalen Hurts. Maybe it doesn’t matter. He was ready, and Hurts was on the sideline rooting his teammates on, as if he were still on the field. That’s how championships are  created.

Hope and expectation can merge. I can’t wait to see our spring games to see if we have the inner strength and skill to match our physical assets.